Gallatin County has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the county by two local landowners for rejecting their plan to build a subdivision six miles north of Bozeman.

The lawsuit, filed in Gallatin County District Court, stems from an April meeting during which the county commission turned down Robert and Nancy Foster’s application for a 10-lot subdivision off Springhill Road.

When they rejected the application, Commissioners Scott MacFarlane and Don Seifert said they did so because it was unclear whether the subdivision design included two public access points as required by county regulations. Commissioner Joe Skinner voted to approve the application.

The Fosters appealed the commissioners’ decision to District Court in May, asking that it be reversed. In their appeal, the Fosters said the subdivision plans indicated there were two public access points and said the commissioners turned down their application based on false information.

One of the access points to the subdivision would have been a new road — ATJ Way — off Marks Way, which was built when the Fosters developed a six-lot subdivision several years ago. The Fosters said Marks Way is a public road, but the commissioners said it was unclear whether the easements for Marks Way allowed for public access or whether they only allowed access for specific properties.

The second access point would have been a new public road connected to Skyview Drive, which is off East Baseline Road. This access is not part of the lawsuit.

The Fosters have been working to develop their property for several years. In 2005, the county sued them for dividing their land in a way that created tracts smaller than 160 acres, the minimum size state law sets for the subdivision review process. Then three years ago, the Fosters proposed developing a small subdivision on their property but withdrew their application once the planning board denied it.

Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

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